Archaeologists excavating a garden complex from an ancient Israelite palace at the site of Ramat Rahel just south of Jerusalem* have found new evidence for the plants and fruits that grew within its walls. Analysis of the plaster that clung to the garden’s walls revealed traces of embedded pollen from a variety of wild species and fruit trees, including the etrog tree. The etrog, or citron, is one of several species commonly associated with the Jewish festival of Sukkoth. The botanical evidence, discovered in a plaster layer from the Persian period (sixth– fourth centuries B.C.E.), marks the earliest occurrence of the etrog in Israel’s archaeological record.
Gardens could be the most luxurious parts of ancient palaces, yet there is no archaeological evidence of the most famous example–the Hanging Gardens–at Babylon. Discover why archaeologists believe this World Wonder was actually located at Assyrian Nineveh.